Employee Engagement

Behaviours and culture you want to create

BY Estée Roodt, (MCom Industrial Psychology)
Behavioural Specialist, Workpoints


Where would your company be if every team member applied discretionary effort to the tasks they have to complete in a day? That’s the dream right? Discretionary effort is the most descriptive term to capture what we mean when we talk about employee engagement. It describes both an emotional and intellectual connection to the organisation.

But let’s dig a little deeper anyway. Employee engagement has become a key term to describe a workforce that is committed to and actively working to build their organisation. It is crucial to the success and competitiveness of the company as well as other business factors such as retention, productivity, customer satisfaction and company reputation.

Engaged employees are more likely to go the extra mile for the company and will think twice before leaving. Sadly, the global statistics for employee engagement show that only 13% of employees are engaged in their workplace. So that leaves us with the fact that employee engagement is a work in progress for most of us.

The different levels of engagement that an employee can experience are classified as follows:

Engaged

This encompasses applied discretionary effort connected to the organisation and they passionately drive the organisation forward through innovation and improvement.

Not engaged

Employees are present but not engaged with activities. They are logging the hours, but not applying energy or passion to their responsibilities.

Actively disengaged

Employees are not happy with work and they are not shy to show it. They are negative about the organisation and might try to actively disrupt daily operations or upset colleagues.

So is there hope and what can we do to increase employee engagement?

Of course there is, according to literature, the main considerations to start cultivating work engagement include the following concepts:

  • Incorporate engagement into the day-to-day language of the organisation
  • Bring engagement in on all levels of the organisation as well as ensure that the policies and procedures of the organisation support and promote a workplace culture that fosters employee engagement
  • Be sure to select the right managers and coach them in leadership, engagement and motivation
  • Hold your team accountable for living the organisational values, development of team members and results
  • Reward those whose behaviour cultivates employee engagement
  • Set realistic engagement goals
  • Align organisational goals to everyday work
  • Maintain an open, transparent, dialogue within the management teams and employees
  • Listen carefully to what employees want and need
  • Provide opportunities and challenges to use the talents of employees
  • Regularly check if employees are engaged and evaluate what is working, and of course what is not
  • Ensure that employees know how they can contribute
  • Be sincere and genuinely thank employees for their contributions
  • Meet employees where they are
  • And lastly, don’t compromise on the behaviours and culture you want to create. Flag moments when people return to old ways and behaviours of doing things and immediately realign to the new


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